Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lemon Basil Orzotto

Sometimes I'm in the mood to spend a long time in the kitchen making a labor-intensive meal, often on a lazy Sunday afternoon.  Other times I am in the mood for a quick and clean dish, full of fresh veggies.  But sometimes Thursday night rolls around...and my fresh veggie stock has been depleted, but I'm still anxious for a quick meal using pantry staples.

This meal fits the bill.  Orzotto is much like risotto, minus 75% of the effort and time.  It can be easily adapted with different flavors, proteins, and veggies depending on what you've got on hand. 

This particular evening, I looked in the fridge and found 1 chicken sausage and 1/4 of an onion (both leftover from pizza earlier in the week).  I added in some frozen edamame for a bit of green and a bit of additional protein. 

1/2 onion, diced (or 1 large shallot)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups orzo pasta
3/4 cup white wine
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup milk (use higher fat for creamier flavor, but skim works just fine)
1 lemon, zested and juiced
salt, pepper
1-2 handfuls of frozen peas or edamame
shrimp, sausage, shredded chicken for protein (optional)
1-2 cubes of frozen basil from Trader Joe's, or fresh basil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling on top

1.  Saute onion and garlic in olive oil in a large skillet or stew pot.  Once golden, add orzo and stir to coat and toast.  When the orzo is slightly toasted, add the white wine and stir occasionally until absorbed.

2.  Slowly add the chicken broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring occasionally until absorbed each time.  This process should take about 10 minutes or until the orzo is al dente.  Stir in the peas.

3.  Turn off the burner and stir in the milk, Parmesan cheese, basil, salt, pepper, lemon juice and zest.
Perfect risotto (and similarly, orzotto) texture is when the risotto melts onto the plate and spreads out, or "loose and soupy," as Mark Bittman recommends.
4.  Serve with extra Parmesan and sausage.

Recipe inspired by Kelsey's Essentials.

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